Former West Indian great Michael Holding (also known as ‘Whispering Death’) has come down strongly against the West Indies cricket board and officials’ treatment of their players. Criticizing the board’s management, Holding said treatment of senior players leaves a lot to be desired..
In an interview to the Daily Mail tabloid (UK), Holding further described the WICB Chief Executive Ernest Hillaire as arrogant and team coach Otis Gibson as someone completely incapable of handling players in the team. He also said that it’s the manner in which the board treats the players that has led to the absence of so many important players. Had some key players been in the squad for the England series, West Indies could well have been seen as a threat. The well known fall-out between Chris Gayle and the board has been much spoke and written about – so has the fallout with Jerome Taylor.
Holding said, “A lot of senior players who should be playing in England have a very bad relationship with the board. They are unhappy with the treatment that has been meted out to them.”
Holding’s scathing comments included, “We have a chief executive, Ernest Hilaire, who thinks he owns West Indies cricket. He has the wrong attitude. He's very arrogant. He thinks he is always right and he doesn't listen to anyone.” About coach Otis Gibson, Holding said, “Ottis Gibson needs to understand that the West Indies cricket team is not a boot camp. He needs to learn how to man-manage.”
Talking about Gayle, Holding said that speaking against the board was bound to have repercussions. Despite him having made himself available to play for the West Indies, rather than talking things over, the board seems to have cast him away. Hillaire was reported to have said (in obvious reference to Gayle) that West Indies needed a star team, not star players.
Holding also was extremely critical of captain Darren Sammy and said that the move by the WICB was damaging to the team. He said, “They want Sammy as captain, irrespective of whether it's good for the team balance or not.” Earlier, Holding also chastised Shivnarine Chanderpaul for his choice of batting position and playing for himself rather than the team.
Michael Holding played 60 tests for the West Indies and picked 249 wickets. Despite being one of the fastest bowlers in the world, he was nicknamed Whispering Death as he would quietly approach the bowling crease. He was the member of the ICC cricket committee but resigned from it in 2008 over disagreement on the ICC’s decision to change the result (forfeit to draw) of the controversial Oval test between Pakistan and England where Pakistan walked off the field amidst allegations of ball tampering. Holding is presently a commentator with skysports.